The emotion really hit Thaddeus Young when he arrived at his hotel Thursday night. The Minnesota Timberwolves forward said he was greeted by countless fans as he prepared for his first trip back to Philadelphia as an ex-76er.
"At the hotel, the people received me and said they missed me and it's been crazy," Young said before Friday's game at the Wells Fargo center against the Timberwolves.
Young was gratified by a gesture done by the Sixers, who framed three of his old Philadelphia jerseys and had them waiting for him in the Timberwolves locker.
The Sixers also showed their appreciation with a video tribute to Young that ran during a timeout late in the first quarter.
"I think that was a great gesture on behalf of the team," Young said after the game about the video tribute. "The Sixers have always been a first class organization and always do things the right way so I wouldn't put it past them."
The fans always appreciated Young's efforts during his seven seasons with the Sixers to begin his NBA career.
"I gave blood, sweat and tears literally to this franchise for seven years and it is definitely a great feeling to be well received and great to have the fans behind you," Young said.
Sixers coach Brett Brown had a recent talk with rookie JaKarr Sampson, suggesting a possible trip to the NBA Development League in an attempt to get some playing time.
Brown had a change of heart and actually inserted Sampson in the starting line for Wednesday's 89-69 win over Detroit.
The 6-foot-9 rookie from St. John's was again in the starting lineup against the Timberwolves.
So what happened from a possible trip to the D-League to the Sixers starting lineup?
"You hear it all the time but it's about taking advantage of your opportunity," Sampson said before the game.
Sampson is known for his defense and he was assigned to guard leading rookie of the year candidate Andrew Wiggins, but he understands performing at the other end of the floor will give him a chance at even more minutes.
"I have been working on my perimeter game, and I know that will give me more minutes if I can continue to improve and keep playing defense," Sampson said.
Not only to do the Sixers have a back-to-back game Saturday in Atlanta, but they face a Hawks team has won 18 in a row after Friday's 105-99 victory over visiting Portland.